Huskers in Ireland: Frost says team ‘dialed in and ready to play’
DUBLIN (WOWT) - As more and more Nebraska fans start flooding the city, the Huskers have reached their midway point in the Ireland trip — one they hope will end with a win.
The team has been in Ireland for two days, and they are two days away from the game against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Thursday’s practice is in the books, happening in the afternoon Dublin time — early in the morning if you’re in Nebraska. The guys look like they have adjusted to the time change, and showing a lot of energy here.
Nebraska football fans can’t wait for Saturday, and for the Huskers, this season has so much riding on it: new coaches, new players — a lot of changes. The team needs to win this year; it absolutely has to happen, and it absolutely has to start with a win against Northwestern.
Frost wants the team to be aggressive from the start.
“I think we have more speed than we’ve had, and guys that are better at catching the ball, so we have a lot of options back there. We did not create many big plays last year on special teams, had some big plays against us two or three times — they cost us. In general, I think we got to be more aggressive, and in turn, make plays — they can change a game on defense and special teams.”
It is a different mentality compared to the opener last year, which was a very similar situation: on the road in Illinois, divisional game Week Zero. This is technically also a road game here in Ireland, even though it’s more of a neutral game between the two teams. But it’s a game the Huskers should win, just like the game last year. They need to find a way to get it done and start this season with a 1-0 record.
It was very good to see the Blackshirts Marques Buford Jr. and Myles Farmer wearing theirs for the second time along with Casey Thompson’s running routes. It looks like everybody’s feeling good and looking forward to the opener.
“To be honest, I was really concerned coming over because you can’t anticipate everything. The guys that planned this did an unbelievable job, and our players have handled it really well. It’s been unbelievable,” Coach Scott Frost said following practice.
“It’s been a good experience for our players. They’re dialed in and ready to play,” Frost said. “They are doing a really good job of enjoying things when they need to enjoy things, then focus when they need to focus — which is a sign of maturity. We’ve had a really good time.”
It’s been a long off-season, and there’s just one more practice to go before the season starts Saturday night.
“We’ve kind of gone over this territory already back home,” Frost said. “We had a lead-up to the game before we left, and another lead-up to the game here. The guys have a couple more tours today, then we have meetings tonight. Tomorrow is really focused on the game, so we have our Fast Friday — it’ll feel just like an away game at a hotel. Then for the rest of the day tomorrow, pretty much the hay is in the barn. I think we’re ready; we’re looking forward to it.”
One of those tours started right after practice at Aviva Stadium.
It will be a real good place to start the season on Saturday, even though it’s a European stadium that is built for soccer and rugby — much different than the American stadiums were used to that are built for football. The roof protects the stadium from the wind; you can’t see any flowing at the top of the goalpost. It’s been very light throughout the day — that’s what we expect to happen on Saturday, which should be good for the kickers, and we know in Nebraska, they are always under the microscope.
“I think it’s good I haven’t been out on the stadium field yet, but it’s definitely windier outside than it is in seems,” Frost said. “Like a pretty controlled environment — I don’t anticipate any big problems.”
The staff here at Aviva Stadium also waited until Thursday to paint the field so it doesn’t stick to the grass too long: They’re going to try to wash it away Saturday right after the American football game because they have a soccer game coming up here in a couple weeks, and they want the pitch to look perfect.
The guys then jumped on a couple of double-decker buses to see the town — and there’s probably no better way to do it. They had a ton of fun.
In the U.S., when we see things that are 100 or 150 years old, we consider that old; but in Ireland, that’s not old. Some buildings here are 1,000 years old or 1,500 years old; it is a totally different experience.
About 10,000 Nebraska fans are expected to be at Aviva Stadium rooting on their Huskers on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. Saturday; the game will air on Fox.
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